Wednesday, November 25, 2015

In the Trenches. . .True Love at 3:14am

Three weeks in and I'm still going!  In this short period of time I've learned a lot and am simultaneously well aware of how little I know.  Humble pie is not a bad thing to eat while you're learning the ropes to caring for a newborn, it appears.  The other day I panicked when my mother-in-law fed my son twice within a 3 hour period because she said he was hungry. I explained that the doctor said we should strive to keep him on a feeding schedule to maintain his steady weight gain. She smiled and assured me that he would be fine, that he was hungry and she fed him. I mean, this woman who my husband and I deem, "the baby whisperer", has only raised a slew of babies over the last 50 years or so. Seeing the look of anguish on my face as I held Makana and imagined him becoming obese or suffering from dire gastrointestinal consequences, my father-in-law chimed in, "doctors not always right!". And how can you argue with that bit of wisdom?

24 days in and I've learned quickly to what and to whom I can turn to for help. Some are material things that make a parents' life much easier, but most come from humans. In this day and age, the material things are plentiful and have been created by people who, no doubt, once had an infant at home and thought to themselves, "how the hell can I create a solution for this?". 

Here's a short list of Delia's Favorite Baby Gadgets (all available online and delivered to your door in 2-3 business days):

1) A sterilizer (13 minutes to clean bottles, pacifiers and baby toys and no boiling water on a stove!)
2) A bottle warmer/cooler system (warmer heats up bottles in 2-3 minutes and the cooler keeps 2 bottles cool overnight so there's no blind stumbling to the kitchen to grab a bottle from the fridge and warm it up-set up perfectly on my nightstand!)
3) A video baby monitor (streams live video and sound, has night vision, you watch from a small, hand-held device anywhere in the house and you can speak into the device to soothe your baby from afar!) I'm using this now as I write this blog at the kitchen table.

Glory be to the creators of such wonders!

But even with these glorious creations, nothing and I mean nothing, can compensate for the type of help that comes in the form of people you can count on, most particularly in the form of a spouse.  I've always been grateful to Fosi for being the kind of husband and father who is hands on-cleans, cooks, shops, and serves his family and loved ones with selfless giving and so I guess I just assumed that he'd do the same when we brought home our little one. And I was right.

When I've left the house during my short maternity leave stint, I've had at least 3 people tell me, "you look well-rested, that's great!", to which I responded, "thank you, my hubby takes the 2am-6am shift."  The responses I receive range from, "you're lucky" to "good for him"to raised eyebrows and again, I take for granted that all partners do the same for their wives. Through discussions with other women, apparently this is not always the case.  This, in and of itself, could be the focus of a blog, but I prefer to keep this entry positive, lol.

For all you parents out there who've raised children, you know how challenging it can be.  Raising children is a blessing but it's hard work! I bow to the mothers out there who raise 2 or 3 (or more) little ones and primarily do all of the hands on stuff themselves. I pray for those whose partners are temporarily or permanently absent or, worse yet, who make life even harder with their presence.  To women (or men) like my mother who raised six children on her own after our father died, there are no awards or accolades great enough to praise and thank you.

I am blessed because I know what true love looks like in a partner. It looked different when we were dating or first married. It matured and grew through the years and went from taking just a romantic form to taking the form of family, friendship, sacrifice, hard work, generosity, kindness, humor and forgiveness.  I've seen the face of true love in a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand acts and more importantly I've FELT it. I've seen it take another shape, yet again, in the last three weeks. True love appeared this time at 3:14am, as I raised my head up from my pillow at the sound of my baby's cries.  Through sleepy eyes and ears, I saw my husband's back as he changed a wet diaper, then heard him speak lovingly to his son as he prepared his bottle, fed and burped him, and lay him back to bed.  That last part I didn't see because I had drifted off to sleep, grateful and secure in the knowledge that both baby and daddy were enjoying themselves.

Those moments I just described and hundreds more, are the moments that define what true love is for me. The crying child at 3am, the phone call from school saying that your son is hurt, finding out your loved one just died, not knowing how you'll pay the bills, going through hard times-that's what I call being "in the trenches". That's when you know who you can count on. That's when you realize who has your back, who you want on your team, what a true partner looks like.  Raising kids with someone, with a village of someones, is all about being in the trenches together.

I have a team of people that I can rely on in these proverbial trenches and I am forever grateful.  And always, at the top of my list, next to me in the trenches (as well as sharing in the beautiful landscapes of life's vista), is my hubby. Thank you, my love.

I got the next 3am feeding.

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